ENG 501 – Literary Theories & Practices
40003 TR 10:00-11:50 CHRISTOPHER LOAR
This foundational course will introduce MA and MFA students to literary theories and criticism, as well as to foundational skills and knowledges necessary for literary research, such as database searches, working with archival material, and the composition of specialized academic genres such as the prospectus and annotated bibliography. We will examine a range of critical approaches (from the classical period to the present).
Course work will include reading a wide range of theoretical essays; participating in class discussions and presentations; contributing actively to small group work; and writing in several distinct academic genres.
ENG 513 – Seminar in Tchg College Comp
Prerequisites & Notes: appointment as a teaching assistant or instructor permission. Offered once a year in the fall.
40165 TR 2:00-3:50 ANDREW LUCCHESI
Many folks in the field of Rhetoric & Composition have called this an impossible course. That might seem strange because this is simply a practicum for graduate students in the teaching of college composition. Why dub it impossible? For lots of reasons, I suppose. I can’t list them all here, but a good way to start thinking about this impossibility is simply to try and define “composition” for yourself. What does it mean in a 21st century classroom? What’s the process underlying composing? What does a composition look like? In other words, how does one learn to teach relatively new college students a diverse activity that is also a kind of nebulous noun. It’s hard to say exactly how one does such a thing.
Still, much of this class is to recognize that impossibility and proclaim “challenge accepted!” We’ll look to historical definitions of composition and we’ll put those up against more contemporary questions and concerns as we work to better understand what you are doing in your own composition classrooms. What that means is that, together, we’ll try on some of the assignments that our students do, we’ll ask questions and write responses concerning how and why we might create better assignments, and we’ll reflect on the place of our college composition course in the field of Rhetoric & Composition and in our own university. What’s more, we’ll spend a good deal of time together working through the relationship between rhetorical theory and composition pedagogy. The goal here is to ground both your thinking about composition and your developing pedagogical style in the imaginative and productive questions that, I think, grow out of a sincere engagement with rhetoric (both ancient and contemporary takes).
Clearly, it’s a busy class. And while teaching composition may very well be impossible, we’ll still build a few practical paths through the strange project of being a teacher and a graduate student.
ENG 520 – Studies in Poetry
44038 TR 8:00-9:50 BRUCE BEASLEY
Stephanie Strickland wrote that “Poems are words that take you through three kinds of doors: closed doors, secret doors, and doors you don’t know are there.” In this seminar we bang on all three doors and see who opens. We will explore the oblique and mysterious logics and unlogics of lyric poetry in the context of the parable, the paradox, the koan, and other forms and rhetorical structures that resist the linear and the rational in favor of the unsayable, undecideable, interdeterminable, overdetermined, and multiple. Reading individual poems from throughout the history of poetry and into recent avant-garde experimentation, we will read widely (and improvisationally) in poetry and poetics, experiencing how, as Seamus Heaney puts it, “Poetry is born out of the superfluity of language’s own resources and energy. It’s a kind of overdoing it. Enough is not enough when it comes to poetry.”
This seminar is itself a kind of paradox or oxymoron, as we’ll be reading poems critically and criticizing poems poetically. During each seminar we will intensively examine a wide range of poets and poems, trying out various ways of responding through theory, criticism, and poetry to what engages us in the poems, and in the classes that follow we will respond to some of those poems (and issues in poetics raised by our seminar discussions) through various radical reactions to those poems. Those reactions may take the form of critical essays, of poems that talk back to the poems we’re investigating, of hybrid forms of poetry and critical writing, and various not-yet-invented forms and structures of dialogue with the poems.
ENG 525 – Studies in Fiction
44039 TR 12:00-1:50 KRISTIANA KAHAKAUWILA
Who’s In Charge Around Here?: On Communal, Authorial & Narratorial Custody: For most artists, the work we create stems from personal, familial, genealogical, place-based, political, technological, communal and/or other (hi)stories. How do we honor and where do we re-imagine those (hi)stories in our own work? If we are custodians of the (hi)stories out of which we write, what can we share and what remains hidden? We’ll start the course by learning about the Hawaiian literary practice of kaona and use it as we weave in other ideas of authorial control and custody. Questions we’ll ask of our writing and ourselves will include: Am I maker or merely listener? Do I call on the muse, or does the muse command me? And how are these fun “writer woo-woo” questions tied to techniques of production and craft? We’ll beg an answer via a study of narratorial control, free indirect discourse, narrative custody, and profluence, just to name a few, even as we ask how and why these craft notions garner more critical attention than others.
We’ll read amazing work from multiple genres including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art. We’ll intertwine theory, craft, and our own creative production as a means for considering how we produce and why and for whom. We’ll be scholar-writers, and the class will be structured to welcome MAs and MFAs, poets and prosers, those interested in Indigenous and Euro-American craft theory of the 20th and 21st centuries, artists of all kinds.
I’m still tinkering with the reading list so if there are questions of craft or artistry arising for you right now, come chat. We can build those into the course.
ENG 560: BRIT LITS: Empire/Globalization
42585 TR 4:00-5:50 KATHERINE ANDERSON
Empire and Globalization in British Literature: In the nineteenth century, Britain was the dominant superpower, claiming the “sun never set” on her vast empire because it stretched around the globe. This course investigates empire and global migration as manifested in British literature and culture from the nineteenth century up to the present, focusing on geographical locations that were touched by the British Empire and remain affected by Western imperialism and/or neo-imperialism in our contemporary postcolonial age: the West Indies, India and Pakistan, the Pacific, and Africa. We will consider depictions of the Empire ranging from the “uncharted” colonial territories and settler farms of South Africa to the urban spaces of London and Lahore. Along the way, we’ll incorporate attention to empire’s entanglements with race, class, gender and sexuality, and other forms of personal identity for both the colonized and the colonizers. Some of the questions we will consider include: How did social positioning (such as class, race, or gender identity), affect experiences of empire and migration in the nineteenth century versus today? What is the relationship of narrative to empire and expansion? How does form or genre affect a depiction of empire, or relatedly, of migration or diaspora? How did imperialism shape these various colonies, and in return, how did empire seep into the domestic space and consequently reshape Britain? What are the contemporary scholarly conversations about empire, globalization, neo-imperialism, and neo-liberalism, and what might we have to add?
This course is designed to do two things: to give you an in-depth understanding of the literature, issues, and developments of the nineteenth-century British Empire and its relevance to contemporary issues of postcolonialism and globalization, and to equip you with the professional skills you will need going forward. Part of your professional skill set includes reflexivity; it behooves you to be aware of developments in your specific field and in your greater discipline, and to be able to situate your own scholarship and methodologies in relation to those developments. A related aspect of your professional skill set requires reflexivity in relation to pedagogy: how and why do you teach the way you do? We’ll address both aspects of professionalism in this course. Assignments will consist of participation, a teaching presentation and syllabus, an op-ed piece, and an article-length final paper.
Texts may include: Brontë, Jane Eyre; Coetzee, Disgrace; Haggard, She; Lessing, The Grass is Singing; Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm; Seacole, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands; Shamsie, Burnt Shadows; Smith, White Teeth; Stevenson, The Ebb-Tide.
ENG 502 – Seminar in Writing of Fiction
12575 TR 6-8 CAROL GUESS
Truth, Trauma, and Transformation: This is an experimental workshop in short form fiction conceived as a response to individual and collective trauma and resilience triggered by current events in the United States. We will answer pressing questions in fiction, using imagination to write beyond the limits of this historical moment, building fictional characters and worlds focused on lying, truth-telling, witness, and memory. Our primary texts for discussion will be online journals and magazines. Requirements include two polished short stories and numerous brief writing assignments. Additional texts TBA.
ENG 504 – Seminar in Writing of Poetry
13723 TR 2-4 JANE WONG
As Audre Lorde writes: “Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.” This seminar will explore the role of poetry as deeply engaging, resisting, and changing our current society. Who are we as poets in today’s world? How can we wrestle with the complexities and intersections of our personal and collective lives through language? With rigorous attention to the relationship between form and content, we will write poems in dialogue with prominent contemporary poets. As an active poetry community, we will revisit the stakes of poetry via seminar discussions, constructive feedback, and radical revision strategies. Alongside books by guest visitor(s), poets we will engage with include: H..D., Gwendolyn Brooks, Danez Smith, Ross Gay, Layli Long Soldier, Solmaz Sharif, Chen Chen, CA Conrad, Cathy Park Hong, Javier Zamora, and many more.
ENG 510 – Rhetoric: New Publics
10377 TR 2-4 JEREMY CUSHMAN
This course wrestles with two competing assumptions: 1. The public is a social sphere constructed through historically shifting interactions among people. And 2. the public is made up of social interaction, yes. But it also is comprised by the built environment––the objects and spaces and processes through which we interact. There is a lot (a lot!) of ‘middle’ between these two poles and we’ll do our best to ask our questions from there.
We’ll start wrestling with these assumptions by first finding some relatively stable footholds within rhetorical theory and practice, particularly the theories and practice that emerge from a relationship between ancient rhetoric (e.g. “Big Daddy A and Greco-Roman Way”) and what increasingly goes by the name New Materialism. New Materialism has its roots in feminists methodologies (generally operating in the sciences). It’s a name for work that emphasizes the self-organizing powers of nonhuman processes, that explores the dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices, and, maybe most importantly, that rethinks the sources of ethics. New Materialism has, for many, upended what it means to study and to practice rhetoric. It has to some degree altered our historical, classical “origin” stories in exciting and pretty uncomfortable ways. So that’s where will start.
Once we all feel some stability within the relationship between classic rhetoric and New Materialist rhetoric in terms of what “counts” as a public, we’ll slow way down and take that relationship with as we read D. Diane Davis’s Inessential Solidarity. In her book, Davis makes a compelling, if difficult, case for an ethical obligation to respond to the other that is as undeniable as the obligation to age. Such an obligation generates new possibilities for publics and for public rhetoric because it pushes past symbolic theories of persuasion toward more fundamental (and undeniable!) notions of affectability and resposivity.
Believe or not, we’ll still have some time to then explore fairly contemporary practices for public rhetorics. While we are exploring these practices together, you’ll be completing your own public engagement project. You’ll start the project about half way through the quarter and the project might consist of, say, a designed social media campaign, a guerrilla poetry project, a set of small essays for a platform like Medium.com, a podcast project, a longer research essay for an academic public, and so on. What you decide to make will depend on what theories and practices get a hold of you as you think through the publics in which in you act.
- Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter
- D. Diane Davis’s Inessential Solidarity
- Provided Articles, Videos, and Audio Projects
ENG 550 – Amer Lits: Nature Writing and Ecocriticism
12576 TR 12-2 NING YU
From the “Howling Wilderness” to “Life in the Woods”: a Critical Review of the American Perceptions of Nature.
This course helps students develop a working history of an important American genre of literary perceptions and presentations of nature. We’ll start with a glimpse of the Native American world picture and then review the Puritan, Romantic and what Larry Buell calls the realism of environmental literature.
ENG 575 –Women’s Literature: Chicana Feminism
12577 TR 8-10 LYSA RIVERA
Chicana Feminisms: This graduate seminar examines Chicana literary history and feminist discourse since the Chicano Movement (1960s-70s). Briefly, Chicana feminist discourse (also known Xicanisma) encompasses the political, theoretical, and cultural work of women and trans women who self-identify as Chicana, a term usually reserved for politically engaged women of Mexican descent living in the United States. Working more or less chronologically, we will work together to understand and appreciate the how material, lived, and political conditions and political concerns have animated Xicanisma and shaped its literary expressions. Our reading list is robust and includes literary texts across multiple genres and several book-length works of Chicana feminist theory and history. Assignment requirements will include weekly response papers, individual presentations, an annotated syllabus assignment, and one 15-20-page research paper.
ENG 580 – FILM: Cinema & Immigration
10631 TR 10-12 FILM SCREENINGS W 5-8 EREN ODABASI
Cinema and Immigration: This course explores various ways through which the production, circulation, and consumption of cinematic texts intersect with the notions of immigration, diaspora, and exile. We will focus on several historical, social, and economic contexts including:
- The wave of German-speaking filmmakers who worked in the United States during and after the Nazi regime,
- The cinematic representations of the Jewish experience in Latin America,
- The role popular Hindi-language films play in shaping the Indian diaspora and the relationship diaspora audiences maintain with their homelands,
- The legacy of colonialism on both contemporary European films and the cinematic output of African countries formerly colonized by European nations,
- The recent roster of films depicting the ongoing European refugee crisis as it continues to unfold.
What are the common thematic and stylistic elements that characterize cinematic portrayals of immigration across such a wide range of contexts? What are the key concepts, debates and points of contention in the theorization of cinema’s relationship with the immigrant experience as formulated by prominent film scholars? In seeking answers to these questions (and other similar ones), we will see several films, read canonical texts, and work towards a mid-length research article throughout the quarter.
- The Time That Remains, dir. Elia Suleiman, 2009
- The Earrings of Madame De…, dir. Max Ophuls, 1953
- The Other Side of Hope, dir. Aki Kaurismaki, 2017
- Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973
- Head On, dir. Fatih Akin, 2004
- Black Girl, dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966
- Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, dir. Aditya Chopra, 1995
- Fire at Sea, dir. Gianfranco Rosi, 2016
- The Lost Embrace, dir. Daniel Burman, 2004
Most of the readings will be available on Canvas, but there is one required book:
- An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking by Hamid Naficy, Princeton University Press, 2001.
ENG 502 Seminar in Writing of Fiction 5cr
23418 TR 02:00-03:50 Magee, Kelly Elizabeth
The theme of this fiction writing workshop is “Influences,” and we will examine novels and short stories that have been influential in some way–both to individual members of the class and to larger communities. Influence can incorporate everything from mentor texts that address particular subjects, to texts that model technique, to collaborative texts written by multiple authors. This awareness of influence includes critically examining the workshop process as well–attempting different strategies for influencing the process of composition and revision in peer writers. It also includes putting an extra emphasis on audience, articulating who we are writing for and how we hope to influence them, including stories that make statements about politics, identity, activism, science, and/or culture; stories that directly call their readers to action; and stories that shape contemporary ethical and artistic conversations. The class will be primarily concerned with the discussion and analysis of full-length student-produced work, with a smaller emphasis on writing exercises and technique practice, student-led discussions of course texts, publication forums, and informal pedagogical discussions.
The majority of our time will be spent on your writing, and you’ll be expected to produce large quantities of your own fiction for group discussion. You are also encouraged to use this course to write and workshop sections of your thesis-in-progress, and while the assigned texts are centered around a particular theme, your submissions will be open topic (in other words, don’t get hung up on trying to write “influence” pieces; write whatever you want). You’ll be graded on the quality of the work you submit to class.
ENG 505 Seminar in Writing Nonfiction 5cr
23419 TR 10:00-11:50 Paola, Suzanne
The Poetries of Prose: Beyond the Lyric Essay
Virginia Woolf often began work not with an idea but with a “rhythm.” Though it’s become popular, and helpful at times, to divide up nonfiction into narrative and lyric essays, doing so can obscure the fact that all language is controlled by rhythm—especially a highly stressed, partly Germanic language like our own. Today we’re going to play around with ways of seeing how language operates prosodically, within prose—how it can be more fresh, more surprising, when you add the tools of performative syntax and careful sentence and paragraph structure to your toolbox. Accordingly, we will spend several weeks on the sentence and the paragraph before diving in to entire essays and other prose forms still reading those with an attention to the prosody of the work.
ENG 506 Sem Creative Wrtg: Multigenre 5cr
23420 TR 10:00-11:50 Shipley, Ely
Textual Transformations: Hybrid Bodies & Contemporary Genre Crossings
Building on poet Robert Creeley’s statement, “form is never more than an extension of content,” we will explore the recent trend in contemporary poetry toward hybrid forms. While hybrid texts are nothing new (Chaucer’s The Book of the Duchess interweaves Ovid’s story of Ceyx and Alcyone from the epic poem The Metamorphoses; Dante’s La Vita Nuova combines prose and verse—prosimetrum—in a tale of courtly love), many contemporary poets are crossing genres to a degree that suggests an erasure of such categories altogether. This trend leads to questions such as: what are the subjects, circumstances, and desires that drive expansions of poetic form? What poetic techniques, whether meter and rhyme or appropriation and erasure, are used? What are their effects? Might we read such moves as fundamental to contemporary identity? Carole Maso asks, “Does form imply a value system? Is it a statement about perception?”
The books for this course span diverse embodiments of sexual, racial, national, class-based, and familial experience as they necessarily trouble traditional genres. Examining the artistic attributes of these texts, we will seek to understand how literature might be made. Through deep analysis of varied and excellent models, we will amass resources and practice techniques to produce creative work. Authors whose works are under consideration for this course include Kazim Ali, Aaron Apps, Eula Biss, Jenny Boully, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, CA Conrad, Lily Hoang, Bhanu Kapil, Wayne Kostenbaum, Lucas de Lima, Shane McCrae, Maggie Nelson, Mark Nowak, Diana Khoi Nguyen, M. NourbeSe Philip, Kristin Prevallet, Claudia Rankine, Juliana Spahr, and CD Wright, among others.
ENG 515 Stdies in Literary/Crit Theory 5cr
23422 TR 04:00-05:50 Wise, Christopher
This course will focus on major language and literary theorists after Ferdinand de Saussure, especially Noam Chomsky and Jacques Derrida. Romantic Rationalist (“RR”) theorists of language will be compared and contrasted with Empirical Externalist (“EE”) theorists of language like Derrida and Michel Foucault. Despite their differences, each of these thinkers developed his respective views of language in response to Saussure’s “Course In General Linguistics.” In order to better ground our discussions, we will also read selections from Plato, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Heidegger. Course concerns will not be limited to questions of linguistics: We will also discuss the political, pedagogical, philosophical, and ethical implications of the texts that we will study. At the conclusion of the seminar, students will write an article length essay which they will present to the class.
ENG 560 Studies in British Literature 5cr
23424 TR 12:00-01:50 Vulic, Kathryn Rajam
In this class, we will read medieval texts in their manuscript context (in facsimile and in original medieval documents) to understand better how literate people in late-medieval England would have thought about reading and writing. We will focus on several literary works found within four important manuscripts: the Ellesmere Chaucer, the Cernon manuscript, the Auchinleck Manuscript, and the Pearl Manuscript. These manuscripts come from the late Middle English period (dating roughly 1300 CE to 1500 CE) and contain some of the finest poetry to survive from the medieval English period. Though we will be reading all texts in modern edited/published forms, we will also be able to examine the original manuscripts themselves, as either paper or digital facsimiles. We will also discuss medieval textual production, high and low literary tastes, and the different means through which an individual might have experienced a literary work (through the eyes, or if the person was illiterate, through the ears). Though the items on the reading list have mainly been chosen according to the significance of the manuscript(s) in which they survive, the readings nevertheless represent a wide range of medieval genres and literary tastes.
A secondary focus of this class will be the study of manuscripts as historical artifacts; students will receive general instruction in medieval paleography (the study of medieval handwriting) and codicology (the study of manuscript construction) and will learn some of the basic principles of manuscript creation and preservation. These experiences will help students to imagine better the medieval experiences of reading, composing, and physically constructing texts. Students will also have an opportunity to edit actual medieval manuscript fragments currently on loan in our library. To accomplish these secondary goals, our class will meet in the Special Collections library (6th Floor of Wilson Library).
This class is intended for graduate students of all backgrounds, and will serve as an introduction to some of the earliest recorded reflections on the social, political, material, and aesthetic stakes of writing. Students will develop a working understanding of Middle English language over the course of the quarter. Though our reading will focus primarily on medieval literary texts, our class discussion and assignments will also address matters of research methodology (including how to conduct research involving manuscripts) and critical writing.
- Pre-class Canvas posts (meant to set the day’s discussion agenda): 20%
- Manuscript metadata project (archival work with real medieval manuscript fragments) 10%
- Historical research project (on a topic significant to class discussion) 20%
- Research essay (including several drafting stages leading to the final product) 40%
- Participation 10%
- Clemens and Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Cornell UP, 2007)
- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (Broadview, 2nd ed., 2012)
- The Pearl Poet, trans. Casey Finch (UC Press, 1993)
- Piers Plowman, ed. Robertson and Shepherd (Norton 2006)
- Selected Middle English romances (King Horn, Floris and Blanchefleur, Lay le Freine, Sir Orfeo) from the TEAMS Middle English Text Series Online, http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/tmsmenu.htm
- Supplements are available online; other texts must be on hand as hard copy.
ENG 598 Sem Tch Eng:Creative Writing 5cr
22539 TR 08:00-09:50 Miller, Brenda
We will explore the various ways one might envision, develop, and teach an Introduction to Creative Writing course. As an entry-level instructor at a community college or university, you will most likely be asked to teach such a course, and this class will prepare you not only for this scenario, but also for teaching in the community. We will study a variety of textbooks and syllabi, and you will come up with your own syllabus, as well as a reflection on your creative writing teaching philosophy. If time allows, you will also create stand-alone topics workshops in a specific genre that you might offer at a conference, residency, or in the community.